Bleakness Descends

On Friday evening I passed the Huntsman Inn at Gormanstown, where, two days earlier, Peter Butterly was gunned down. The weather ensured that it had lost none of the cordite induced bleakness which had descended on it, snuffing out one more life.

There is a photo I saw on the web of his wife, a Facebook friend whom I don’t know in person, in a state of distress as she sat in her car at the scene of her husband’s death. Besides his widow he leaves three children. There have been numerous reports in the media all of which claim to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the killing of Butterly. But with a plethora of groups all vying for the uppermost position on the republican pantheon I am not sure I am any more enlightened after reading any of them. Most seem to be a variant of the Irish Times line that it was a ‘Real IRA murder’ Wholly accurate or otherwise, the emerging consensus is that some strain of physical force republicanism was behind the death.

Apart from the fact that this is summary execution on the street, a right Irish society does not afford to the state, the image of republicanism that is projected by this type of action more resembles Love/Hate than Hunger. Media depictions that ‘the gangsters who killed Butterly had connections to murdered Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan’ have all too readily rendered gangsterism and physical force republicanism indivisible.

There is no way for the general public to discern any difference between the so called republican actions and those of the drug dealers who routinely kill each other in gangland wars. Consequently there is no chance of the same public conferring the slightest political legitimacy on the people who carry out these killings. So efficiently does the media press the interpretative buttons that in casual conversation with people I speak to there is a total indifference to the fate of those killed: as long as they kill each other has been the prevalent attitude thus far. There is no visible difference that people can see between the motives of those that gunned down Peter Butterly and those who killed Paul Cullen earlier in the week.

Moreover, history will be read backwards from the perspective of the present which means the republican activism that accounted for much of the North’s violent political conflict will be judged as no different from what is taking place today – set on a par with gangland killings. That is an image that Mickey Devine and the nine hunger strikers who preceded him died rescuing republicanism from.

There is a also an uneasy feeling in my mind about the role of An Garda Siochana. Those apprehended after the Butterly killing 'were arrested by armed members of the Emergency Response Unit and the National Surveillance Unit, who were monitoring the movements of some of the suspects.' This is the second killing allegedly carried out by Dublin based republicans in recent months where armed gardai have immediately intercepted those deemed responsible, the first being Eamon Kelly in Dublin.

It seems clear that the Gardai are in possesion of high grade information regarding the operational intentions of the groups behind both killings. It remains puzzling that they are only able to intervene after the act and not before it when intervention may have saved a life. Had late intervention been restricted to the Kelly killing it could be shrugged at as simply one of these things that happen, a garda patrol in the immediate vicinity makes an interception, a one off. But when it happens twice within a narrow time frame the nascent contour of a pattern begins to take shape.

That aside, it is tenuous to make the argument that violence is a necessary response to British rule in Ireland. If it were so necessary why is it not a widespread social phenomenon rather than the isolated cult-like activity it appears to be? Who is ever going to write anti-British ballads about noble republicans at the battle of Gormanstown?

Physical force republicanism is bereft of any strategic potential to achieve the goals it claims to be pursuing. It can deliver little apart from ideological and psychological solace to those who feel they have not abandoned the cause. Hardly justification for persevering with strategic futility.

47 comments:

  1. Mackers there is only clarity on the part of the perps and mystery on the the part of the speculators. Another done to the ground in the corrupt world we live in. I am sure he had it coming but then we all do, in one form or another. The wife and the kids,it is always sad and yet seldom a consideration. When you run with the lions you can expect to get scratched.

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    1. It still cuts to one clear conclusion. It was dishonorable. The betrayal of friendship was, dishonourable. This is something the british did. IIt was called "Shoot To Kill". But the dymanics of Peter Butterlles Murder was worse. This involved personal betrayal. And that is worse than any act of Physical Violence. And it was the organisations mistake for not taking his children to consideration. To that I say, a big shame at them. Even Tom Barry, the Greatest Strategic Leader, and his brillance of Kilmichael. He left thevOrganisation, when the Organisation wanted to hit the Mainland. During his time in the Organisation, he made brutal decisions, yhat at the time were called for. But he also relied on wisdom of perspective. Our Honor is all we have. The one who pulled the trigger at Peter Butterly, may as well have been the same one who pulled the trigger at Alan Ryan. There is nothing to distinguish the action. Where as the Irish, does that leave us?

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  2. Seems The Gardai does not want to pass on information to those who have been targeted and slain, Did not the RUC do the same, except, They didn't make any arrests. The Gardai just let it happen, saying to themselves, the more of this lot or that lot kill themselves the better. To me these people are not Republicans, they are Criminal gangs fighting a turf war over drugs. Its Europeans who are in the background dictating, that's my personal view of course. and, it is far from isolated, most of the provies are happy with what they have. First job is to eradicate these drug barons, and , I don't mean eradicate to take over there patches , drugs are a scourge and in the north they are freely got from MI5/Special Branch for information. Sad times we live in. What was the war for?. I believe the next fight for independence will be through intelligence, no more indiscriminate Bombings, no more sectarian shootings , in fact I would go further and say, No more Bombings on the Island of Ireland , except for military and government installations. Who Knows?.

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  3. AM..I think the misconception applies here --as it does equally when attributed to the Loyalist side--that the words criminal and either loyalist or republican appear in the one sentence. They cannot be both but I feel it suits the media et al to perpetuate the myth. Perhaps the individuals once would have been considered loyalist or republican but they have foregone those attachments in pursuit of personal gain, individual power or notoriety.

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  4. You are a brave man Anthony and more than that a man of integrity with your words and heart/spirit...

    NB Irelands new ballads will be NARCOCORRIDO ones (drug cartel ballads) I think some pseudo republicans should start writing them now in advance. Sure the spooks will chip in with a line or two with ya’s.

    NB You all got so many faces there is not enough seating for your kind at a pseudo republican banquet. Stick that in a rig and bang it in your veins for a reality hit. Better still why not strap on some semtex and do a martyr number for Mother Ireland. Blow yerselves sky high. Go raibh mile maith agat in advance.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=832_1332900768&comments=1
    or google - Liveleak Narcocorrido ballad

    Where there be drug trade wheelings and dealings there IS NO NOBLE CAUSE – just paranoid moves & fallouts. Rot in hell you thick bastards who think funding militant resistance with drug trade is a smart move or even more pathethic - you claim to be republican to lure naive fools.

    You have blood on yer hands the moment you started dealing in drug trade which is riddled like a swiss cheese with touts & highest level corruption. The users of the actual drugs – young addicts will lived f..ked up, short lives and pass the addiction fallout & curse onto the next generation...

    RE ‘There is a also an uneasy feeling in my mind about the role of An Garda Siochana’
    Yeah... It looks crystal clear like they r in on it all & pulling strings... They be probably doin a line whilst reading yer blog lol

    RE: Physical force republicanism is bereft of any strategic potential to achieve the goals it claims to be pursuing. It can deliver little apart from ideological and psychological solace to those who feel they have not abandoned the cause. Hardly justification for persevering with strategic futility.

    Yes.

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  5. Stephen said it perfectly, either these groupings are engaged in a criminal patch war as he rightly puts it for "individual power or notoriety" or they have completely lost the plot, their actions remind me of actions of the IPLO and the seemingly never ending blood lust that followed ,and it was their own blood that was getting spilled,the chances of any young person of a republican conviction joining these groups for the "cause" must now be next to nil, their murderous campaign is it seems directed mainly against each other rather than the brits who seem to be a side issue,and these attack are successful only in filling the jails,at the moment physical force is a no brainer and quite possibly it may be a card best left at the bottom of the deck,the slaughter of Irishmen by Irishmen does nothing to advance the cause of a united Ireland in the slightest,when we now have a chance to build on the real disillusionment that the nationalist people are having with the failed leadership and performance of quisling $Inn £ein,this type of action is counter productive and no matter what name it is carried out under it certainly is not in my name.

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  6. Peter Butterly might have beat another charge in a court room but
    he was not going to beat those bullets being pumped into him-did the Gardai take the easy way out and let his own side take him out-shoot to kill by proxy-does anyone really care because of who the victim was-what if the next victim is some-one we know or even ourselfs-we would care then-but would anyone else-life is very cheap now when death is treated like a video game-

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  7. Peter Butterly might have beat another charge in a court room -

    Micky H you seemed to well informed if you can make that accusation..What other charge are you refering to?

    It remains puzzling that they are only able to intervene after the act and not before it when intervention may have saved a life

    I have a problem in getting my head around that too. Take the politic (right & wrong etc..) out of the equation. An ERU follow a car with 4/5 armed people inside and they couldn't set up a police road check and arrest everyone before the act..In the same way as last nights Spotlight 14 days talked about. The Gib. 3 where tailed from almost day 1 but shot dead, the RUC/Mi5 sit back and watched Michael Stone and they do nothing, Mi5 allowed two or their own get murdered again but do nothing. Yet on the UK mainland they are able to stop muslim terrorist attacks in the planning? Make me wonder too.........

    There is a also an uneasy feeling in my mind about the role of An Garda Siochana.

    It could have been 'Feel te love, Sean Bres (<--if I got your name wrong sorry but I'm with your line of thought) but. someone one the TPQ mentioned a few weeks ago about how uneasy they sat with the killing of the Garda..

    Physical force republicanism is bereft of any strategic potential to achieve the goals it claims to be pursuing.

    Personally for me, my jury is still out of PFR. I can't explain why but..ONH seem a bigger threat to the political process than the (new) IRA. One day (in my life time or not thats not for me to call). I 100% believe Ireland will re-unite (how etc is open to whatever..but it will happen)

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  8. Mary I'don't know if you are anti republican, anti drugs or both from reading your post. But if you think like this..

    Rot in hell you thick bastards who think funding militant resistance with drug trade is a smart move

    Why don't you re-direct your anger at the banks. They launder Mexcian drug money. Then they (banks) lend you some money on the back of laundered drug money to allow you to buy a new car, pay for a holiday...And you don't complain about that!!!!

    The users of the actual drugs – young addicts will lived f..ked up, short lives and pass the addiction fallout & curse onto the next generation...

    Have you any idea Mary of the real damage over the counter drugs do to society..Or how often someone vists their GP for mothers little helper do? Or have you ever sat in your home late at night and had a 'tipple' while reading the TPQ or watched a friend smoke a ciggie. If you have a problem with anyone smoking a joint, come out and say so..Personally I've no problems in having a toke myself..And I'm going to in 5 mins.

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  9. I am not sure if Mary is more anti-drug or anti-republicans being involved in the drugs trade. Although she is having a rant it is understandable. We all--both loyalist and republican have to accept that there is a roaring drug trade throughout Ireland--its maybe worse in the South--and while that is thriving there will be those who will attach themselves to it. Greed and power knows no boundaries and ideals and principles are soon flung to the side in the pursuit of the pound/euro. Drugs is an inescapable part of modern society and where there is drugs there will be drug lords. The problem is that ex combatants on both sides have the experience and the nous to consolidate their position at the top of their respective piles. And colloborate when the need arises.

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  10. Sadly Mackers, another brutal death occurs and so-called investigative jurnalists pump out the same propaganda..

    I feel sorry for his wife and three children as they not only have to cope with the loss,grief but also countless stories..

    Maybe those, Republican or not who are responsible should issue a statement as to why he was killed..At least, his kids would be able to understand a little better...?

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  11. A very sad time for the wife and family , but sure didn’t he die for the cause and played his part in the never ending search for Irish freedom, his wife will be sad for a few moments but then she will tell the kids of how daddy died for Ireland . How many times have I heard or read this very story about how republicans fought and died for the cause. For as long as I can remember this has been the general behaviour of republicans. Republicans have been involved in extortion and kidnapping not to mention bombings and shootings in the name of Irish freedom since the 1900’s they have always operated with no mandate from the people.
    I always ask what’s the difference in the present republicans and the guys from the past , None is the answer I keep coming up with, they all have or had the same modus operandi .
    So these guys were gangsters in the eyes of some but stop for a moment and look at how lucrative being a republican can be
    Fianna Fail
    Fine Gael
    Sinn Fein
    Workers party
    Big salaries and pensions spring to mind not mention holiday homes
    A drive through South Armagh and South Down will also make you ask the question “were did they get the money for such grand houses“

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  12. Maybe those, Republican or not who are responsible should issue a statement as to why he was killed..At least, his kids would be able to understand a little better...?

    Ardoyne Republican..Good call.

    I am not sure if Mary is more anti-drug or anti-republicans being involved in the drugs trade. Although she is having a rant it is understandable.

    In my opinion Stephen, she's venting her anger at the wrong people and she never mentioned the 'L' word once...(Mary are you related to Jeanne??).

    We all--both loyalist and republican have to accept that there is a roaring drug trade throughout Ireland--its maybe worse in the South--

    The drug trade in the south of Ireland isn't simply roaring. It's booming . If canabis was legalized in the same way alochol and tabacoo is..poverty in Ireland, the debt, unemployment would be a distant dream. There is something like 25,000 different by products from hemp alone...

    and while that is thriving there will be those who will attach themselves to it

    Attach in what way? From profitting from it, using it..We know HSBC launder drug money (so they're attatched).

    I've a two bit medical condition called spinal stensois (basically I've a 24/7-365 tooth ache in my leg) until someone gets around to giving me a 15min op. I've two choices in stopping the pain..taking tramadol (I can get them ten to the dozen for free..!!!!)

    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said it was concerned about an increase in the number of deaths related to misusing the psychoactive drug.
    Tramadol is an opioid-like drug which is used to treat pain from cancer and musculoskeletal problems.
    The Home Office said it would consider the recommendations.
    The ACMD's chairman Prof Les Iversen called for tramadol to be made a Class C drug, with penalties of up to two years in prison for possession and 14 years for supply.


    OR..Going to see one of the brothers buy basically a plant to relieve the pain.

    How attached am I Mary/Stephen?

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  13. Boyne Rover:

    "look at how lucrative being a republican can be"

    Could you please enlighten us as to how Lucrative Being a Loyalist can be?.

    Fairs fair and all that, as top Loyalist Drug Barons have been in cahouts with some , "So Called" Republicans for territory to supply and sell.

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  14. Feel te Love,

    rephrase your comment if you want it carried here. This is a site for discussion not one for people to convey menance or threat.

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  15. There is only one reason why Republican groups would want to get involved in the drug trade and that is the huge profits. Perhaps some may think they can fund a war like FARC.

    That seems to be the only benefit. The many downsides are too numerous to mention and heavily override the profit aspect.

    With criminality, being essentially a selfish pursuit, there will be greed and with greed comes internecine feuds.

    The drug trade would bring with it a multitude of low-lifes who will see no problem with carrying out despicable acts on their colleagues and their clientele. Their need for self-protection will inevitably lead to more informers.

    Who would want a United Ireland if it was won through the misery of thousands addicted to heroin or crack. There would be so much crime nobody would feel safe. Criminals further down the chain would arm themselves and we all know about the rise and falls of empires.

    There will be more loose talk. John Alderice explained that the PIRA avoided the drug trade to avoid the accompanying wagging tongues of people who need a fix or who are in one.

    The stigma attached to the drug trade would lead some to avoid jail by informing.

    There will be less moral and logistical support from the community as the drugs trade is deeply unpopular.

    People will focus on the profit from drugs to the detriment of political activity.

    There is also the risk of going from one unethical trade like drugs into another profitable unethical trade like people trafficking or brothels when the means justifies the ends in such a despicable fashion.

    The PIRA reportedly rang the RUC to warn them of a cocaine shipment which was then interceded. They also handed £20,000 of cannabis to a local priest so it could be destroyed. Anyone who thinks it is anti-Republican to twart such anti-social activities but ok to sell drugs to fund a war needs their head examined as that profiteering
    will be their downfall.

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  16. Sorry Mackers there is no other way i can articulate my contempt for the sycophant that is MH. Your call Mackers but I have no option but to accept your decision.

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  17. Itsjustamacker
    I take it that when you refer to Loyalist you mean the people who use the likes of the UVF UDA as cover for their illegal activates to line their own pockets of which there are many. None of these people have made it to the top table of which we call respectability. Unionists don’t seem to forgive them for their deeds were as nationalists forgave in the hope of peace. Bigots the DUP may be but they never claim to represent the UDA or UVF.

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  18. I am obviously not a detective on this case and so therefore have a shit ton lacking in regard to information on the specifics ..... what I will say is that we have statements from the Garda as to what the witnessed and how they acted - we have the media take and spin on this and then somewhere amongst it all we have the facts ( which not one of us here know .....)

    My concerns are many but I really wish to begin by stating that the media and garda are doing a great job in criminalising what they see as active force republicanism and demonising all who hold these values dear ....... there are many reasons as to why that has happened and one of them is that some folks seem to think they can involve themselves in this world without becoming tarnished .... that is not possible!!!

    A quick and really easy solution to these problems as Frankie already highlighted is to legalise drugs - tax them and solve problems associated with addiction with the help of a huge revenue booster.
    With this tactic you get rid society with some of the greater ills that surround drug trafficing, gangs and addiction.

    In my opinion it is extremely ridiculous to think that outlining someone else's reasons as to why they shot dead a husband. son and father will somehow make people feel better or understand it better is surprising. How about trying to tell those who pull triggers and use violence to gain supremacy over others to learn from the lessons of the past !!!!!!
    We are as a society doomed if those who claim to represent some kinda opposition or alternative to the current powers that be and all they can offer us is the same old tactics and bullshit that didn't ever get us any further down the path to a united country.
    To me it's a lame and cowardly way to attempt to gain legitimacy through fear and violence ............................ when will we learn ??

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  19. Feel te love,

    you can do it without threat or menace. We all get annoyed at something. Learn ho to dal with him just as the rest here have done.

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  20. Simon, do you smoke ciggies, drink coffee or tea (have a pint or whusky watching footy), take a lemsip for a heavy cold?

    I'm 'kicking back' with a joint and a glass of Califorian white (half watching Messi). Let's talk drugs, the effect/s. It's like this word 'Dissident..Anyone (IMO and from what I've read) who split and formed the PIRA & joined or who went on and formed the INLA..dissidented. People can argue with me until we are both blue in the face but as an outsider that's my take.

    Simon, let's talk about drugs..You can make yourself a coffee (someone else will smoke a ciggie..someone else who's reading will take a 'nip' before bedtime and some OAP or relative will pop a heart pill (all the time the banks are rolling it in).

    Do you think SImon that for one second both LloydsPharmarcy and LloydsTBS aren't pissing in the same pot!!! I can go to a Lloyds drug store and get tramadol for free, run the risk of 2 yrs and /or 14 G fine Or go to a Brother, run the risk of getting caught (I'm not talking Belfast rules). Going to a judge and getting a slap on the wrist.
    let's talk drugs Simon..(I'll put aside the by products of hemp). The only way to stop the 'War on drugs is to end prohibtion..

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  21. Frankie- I would have no problem with a decriminalisation of all drugs but that doesn't mean I would support their use. Frankie do you not think the banks would profit from the sale of declassified drugs? Where would the new industry keep it's cash?

    There are money laundering laws in place at the moment. If drugs were legalised the money would more easily be kept at the bank.

    Banks profit from many legal but nefarious industries like the arms trade, tobacco and sweat shops.

    I think a revamp of all laws regarding trades like drugs and prostitution could possibly help the addicts and stop crime and may help, in the case of prostitution, the women involved.

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  22. Anthony astutely observes:Moreover, history will be read backwards from the perspective of the present which means the republican activism that accounted for much of the North’s violent political conflict will be judged as no different from what is taking place today – set on a par with gangland killings. That is an image that Mickey Devine and the nine hunger strikers who preceded him died rescuing republicanism from.

    I find this, as another commenter did list, accurate given the dead-ends of the INLA and WP as they fissured and sparked feuds. The "legitimacy" or "continuity" of such factions today and their decision to continue PFR appears so quixotic that it may be not the heir to "In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty" of the Proclamation driving them on, but the combination of payments to touts, turf rivalries, and drug moneys, sad to say. The rise of the drug culture for a "generation" in the wake of the fading mass armed struggle merits comparison. These entanglements for the latest round of alphabet soups and 'ra monikers came (a bit?) after the occluded origins of the WP and INLA, but one wonders if they originated with, or very soon after, the formation of the groups who broke with PSF near or immediately after the GFA.

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  23. This killing is unacceptable and those who have carried it out need to explain their actions. Are we in Ireland not entitled to basic justice and humanity that we demand of others? God save Ireland from such unjust actions.

    May Peter Butterly rest in peace. All our heartfelt condolences to Eithne and children in this sad time.

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  24. Simon /Frankie.

    Drug dealer ordered to repay almost £200,000 in Bolton

    to me that's how it should be, he has lost everything and so he should.

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  25. When i heard of the shooting of Peter Butterly, I also questioned as AM outlined above what purpose did this serve and concerns around the gardai operation also.
    As many above have mentioned 'drugs' prescription or defined 'illegal' I'm in favour of harm minimization. The 'war on drugs' looks to have failed in reality it serves the state well, take an analogy of the following link applied to Ireland (not on the scale of the US) but extra police resources,surveillance,tarnish those opposed to the state etc http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/12/15-benefits-of-the-war-on-drugs/
    Peter Butterly was to appear in court this week charged with membership of an "illegal organisation styling itself on ONH/IRA" If those that killed him wanted him out the way, he would likely have been jailed this week, out of the way other than any threat which does occur in jail, and risk he has 'talked or would' however
    One man is dead and young men facing lengthy sentences for his killing - what were those that ordered the killing thinking? Or not thinking!
    If they are linked to any form of PFR there is no strategy at all, for once I dislike to admit the media and journalists portrayal of this as criminality is much closer to the truth.
    Quisling PSF have abandoned any form of republican values by the ballot box or the armalite, its an opportunity for republicans to articulate core values, it doesn't need to leave the past behind, there was a void created by the GFA - its easy to point the finger at 15yrs of GFA Failures and sell out, but its time for serious debate about where republicanism is heading definitively not in the way it was supposed to be expressed in the killing of peter butterly.

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  26. FionnchĂș

    " but one wonders if they originated with, or very soon after, the formation of the groups who broke with PSF near or immediately after the GFA."

    I would say after the GFA, but, there is a group who keeps itself from British eyes, who abhor those who are dealing in drugs and proclaiming themselves to be Republicans for there own selfish means, believe me, time will only tell, and it wont be in the distant future either, these people will desist. Its not just the gardia and psni/ruc and SB/MI5 who are watching them! No more shall people be executed on the say of a tout. It will be with a warning, then if they persist, evidence will be shown and the ultimate will happen.

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  27. The thread of conversation here seems to have slipped away from the ethics of republicans--or as I stated earlier--loyalists..to a debate on drugs. Drugs, and the profits made from them are of course one reason why ideolgical thoughts can be quickly forgotten but by no means the only one. I wouldnt suggest that the higher echelons of SF are drug dealers but the common perception is that they have foregone their republican ideals. Likewise many loyalists would contend that a party like the DUP can no longer claim to represent loyalism after their sell out which enables them to cosy up and divvy up with their former "enemies".

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  28. Stephen,
    The DUP politics are in power with the republican right in the USA. When you bring it down to its simplicity. Like the USA republicans, they have a mixture of right wing Christian religious and political thinking combined in old wine rhetoric. The DUP only see the loyalist working class as a vehicle to keep them in power and privilege. They care very little about the loyalist on the street. The Ulster Unionists are going this way, as Nesbitt has not a clue about politics. He views life as opportunities, his line will start to harden into more sectarian overtones, if it gets him where he needs to go. Loyalists will continue to be left behind by their political representatives because the masters thinking is simple, the 12th, flags, emblems and national british identity will re shame the loyalist working class dissidents back in to the fold. Sure SF and the stormount council is basically doing the same to their electorate. If the PUP could sort out its sectarian base, maybe there is somewhere to go, but they are snookered on tribal issues.

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  29. James--very succint and very little I could offer an argument against. There is definitely a new breed of politician here noth unionist and nationalist. They have been astute enough to see that there is a base that can keep them in power for the forseeable future and there are many sectarian issues that can be used to further their aims. They both treat their electorate with contempt and that same electorate are blinded by misguided loyalty to know the difference. In many ways the electorate who continue to vote for these weasels deserve no better.

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  30. I believe most of the people commenting here have said it all. If Republicans, of any strand, believe that “taxing” or actively participating in criminal activities, in particular the drugs trade, will further the cause of Irish reunification then they are completely delusional. Or more accurately using the “Republican brand” as a flag of convenience to pursue other a-political ends.

    In the minds of the Irish general public the belief in a growing nexus of narco-terrorism involving organised crime gangs and Republican groupings is now firmly embedded. Even if one allows for the anti-Republican PR spin of the pro-British media establishment in Ireland there is no doubt that there is more than a grain of truth in this. Whether it is genuine Republicans or the criminal fringe Irish Republicanism as an ideology is being dragged through the mud in such a way that one may well wonder if it can ever recover. And Republicans of the “Dissident” strand have no one to blame but themselves.

    The words of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic issued in 1916: “...we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine.”

    Could that guiding principle be applied to the activities of the Real IRA, Continuity IRA or now New IRA?

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  31. I'd go along with Anthony's basic premise that some of what goes on today is damaging for the image of republicanism and were it to retrospectively impact on the historical narrative of our movement then that would be unacceptable. But I also think there's an over-reaction among the comments. Suggestions that the republican struggle has been reduced to a Dublin turf war with organised crime in the city ignores the wider picture of what goes on North of the border where the vast majority of operations and attempted operations are carried out. While we may argue the strategic merits of such actions there's no doubt they are not criminal. The two lads caught with the mortar-launcher in Derry a short while back are republicans just like those that went before them and let us never say otherwise.

    I don't know the ins-and-outs of it but it seems as though the assassination of Alan Ryan has opened a can of worms and the lid still hasn't been put back on yet. Elements in the media are using the resulting uncertainty to their advantage to portray republicans in a poor light. A campaign of retribution could indeed prove very costly for republicanism if it continues to descend into more murders on the streets because like Anthony says it can easily become guilt by association. The problem I think is now that it's started where the hell and how the hell does it end...

    As Anthony intimates this has the potential to undermine everything we've fought for and gained and this has to be seriously considered by those who still wish to prosecute an armed struggle. I'm with Marty, that day has past. We need to rebuild our movement on solid foundations and use the political strength of the republican argument to progress our struggle. Physical force has served it's purpose. It's brought us a long way from the sectarian Orange state where Catholics were akin to the blacks of the U.S. Deep South and we salute all those who defended our people in that turbulent period we've just emerged from. But to go back would be a mistake and not in the republican interest. In fact I'd go further, that's just were the Brits want us.

    They'd rather a low-level, poorly-funded, strategically moribund armed campaign than a powerful political movement with the people onside and the strength and legitimacy of the republican argument bearing down on them. This is what we must work to build for all our sakes. Ireland has seen enough bloodshed

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  32. Sean Bres - I agree with almost everything you've stated in your last comment except that when we start talking abut specific actions like the "suspected mortar attack" we are always forgetting that the state so many times over and over entrapped young men and women and will continue to do so - taking years and years in some cases to groom and entrap ...... history can not and should not be permitted to repeat itself - it is my opinion that the time for force is not now ...i am not a pacifist and do believe firmly that armed resistance is necessary - but not now

    - I would really love to see a substantial effort by all republicans to come together and establish that republican alternative ...... but i fear that the "lads" have spent way too much time fighting each other in the last decade or two for it to ever be possible.......

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  33. Stephen,

    'which enables them to cosy up and divvy up with their former "enemies".'

    Who could have envisaged Van Helsing (Robinson) and Nosferatu (McGuinness), together, as they are presently on the Copacabana? Who are we to blame for creating this parody of Bram Stokers gothic horror? The imagery of the 'frienemies' could'nt appear anymore manufactured even were it to be broadcast to the accompaniment of the Barry Manilow classic 'Copacabana'.

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  34. Aine I feel it will be up to the generation coming through to bring about the type of unity you refer to, those perhaps of your own age and my son's and daughters'. That's the key now for me going forward - not to manipulate the next generation but to provide it with the guidance and more importantly the space to reestablish Irish republicanism as a viable and relevant political ideology capable of addressing the needs of our people.

    As things stand I think we need to step back and take account of where we are, it's time for a serious examination of political reality. Only after recognising and admitting to our current situation can we rebuild and reorganise. This is the challenge we need to be meeting and not trying to flog a dead horse with attempts to reconfigure and resurrect the armed struggle. As I said earlier as far as I'm concerned it's already exhausted its strategic potential and it's time now to move forward in a new direction with a fresh approach. Education and debate are critical in all this and as always we have the Proclamation to guide us, everything we need is contained within its historic wording. It's important then that we encourage the young people in our society to recognise its value and the value of a republicanism in tune with the needs of our people here and now in the times that are in it. Needless to say we must also give them a good example.

    Things have moved on, it's no longer 1969 - Thank God! And for that we have the efforts of the republican movement to thank. I think now it's time we paid those hardy souls back, those who fought, who died, who went to jail and otherwise suffered for the likes of me and you. The very least we owe them is to find that alternative way forward you mentioned in your comments so their sacrifice was not in vain and that another generation isn't left to the same date. It's there for us if we want it. Republicanism is still there for us if we want it

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  35. Robert..well put. The parody that is not only the first and deputy first ministers--how galling that title bestowed upon Robinson mist sound to republicans--but the whole sham that masquerades as the peace process is something that could only have been dreamed up by the Give My Head Peace Team. A total lampoon and altyough it permits a few sniggers, in reality far from funny.

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  36. Boyne Rover


    Do you have any proof that a current leader was never the head of the UDA
    or two previous leaders"?. One of whom was photographed in Israeli Brandishing a rifle.

    Its the same on both sides of the divide, People pertaining to be in a faction and using it to run a drugs empire as cover.

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  37. Politicians by their very nature are usually a devious breed, but the two egotists who front the circus that is Stormont are way beyond devious,their history in our recent past has not been unearthed and probably never will,yes we have our snippets,and insinuation,but their cv,s like so many others in that subsidised goodfellas gathering remains with large blank pages,how can we ever be or even attempt to call ourselves a part of any democracy when those in the highest office have and retain a history that is not open to any form of scrutiny,so in effect how are they in any position to lecture anyone from republican to "fleg"protester,the biggest problem that I can see with any of the grouping or the majority of the politicians here is the lack of honesty and respect for the people,and without both our society is going to be caught in this whirlpool of corruption and the dirty deeds that go along with it for a long time to come,

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  38. Sean - again I agree with you - It is up to the younger generations to act and they can only do so with good role models which I fear we don't have enough of ...... the narrative is being taken away the lessons are being warped but I think it is the responsibility of those of us who wish to see republicanism survive beyond Marty and Gerry's reign to educate and take back that narrative. Lets hope it happens.

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  39. Simon,

    I read this report this morning. I wonder what the explanation will be.

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  40. AM- There is another aspect about being linked to drugs, in whatever way, apart from the inherent immorality and poor ethics considering the harm that the sale, use and accompanying criminality and feuds cause the Irish people.

    An inherent criminal activity such as this will publicly underscore the point that criminal activity and subversive political activity are one and the same thing.

    This is what annoys me as although we may find out a reasonable explanation and although I don't support violence it sullies the tradition of Republicanism. So although I would prefer peaceful political activity what the armed groups do shouldn't annoy me but if it's allowed this will, through association destroy any respectability of past campaigns and the people involved.

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  41. Simon,

    reading the past from the present is a serious problem for republican historiography. The image of drugs is starting to stick to some strains of republicanism like a limpet mine.

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  42. Simon it seems to me a bit like bolting the stable door after the horse has long gone, the prm and their dalliance with farc has opened the floodgates of criticism which will be leveled at all the different groupings and which will be almost impossible to shrug of or deny,they certainly dont need to be adding fuel to the fire which this case seems to do,there is no such thing as a free lunch,which many may think the drugs trades is,any money earned in this dirty trade is tainted beyond use,and those who deal in this trade are neither socialist or republican but scum.

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  43. marty "tainted beyond use" is exactly right. I would go so far as to say that all other things equal like the type and amount of drugs sold a Republican perpetrator is much worse than a regular criminal as the 'Republican' does more harm to the cause of Irish Unity. By aligning drugs crime with subversive activity he makes the charge of criminality and terrorism easier to be made and more justly at that. Perhaps the criminality branding will work retroactively also?

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  44. Bleakness Descends

    Electric Dayzee,

    Thanks for your comment. The war in drugs is as you say basically a justification for enhanced law enforcement power. It has failed big time.

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